Carrying Your Kindness Past the Holidays

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During the holidays, so many charities call upon us all for support – from feeding the hungry to toys for needy children – you’ve most likely dropped some cash into a little red bucket at some point during the holiday season.  While it’s a beautiful thing to share with those in need during this magical time of year, the truth is that as the warm glow of Christmas goodwill wears off, the needy don’t disappear.  We’re approaching some of the coldest months of the year, yet most of the charities that care for the poor will see a steep decline in donations and volunteers during the most dangerous weather.

If you’re looking for ways to help this winter and into 2015, here are just a few local charities that could use a helping hand:

Harriet Tubman Emergency Women’s Shelter and Day Program – Located on Massachusetts Avenue, this emergency shelter is for women over the age of 18.  The program offers a hot meal, a shower, a place to stay off of the streets, access to a case manager and a work program.  Intake begins at 7 pm each night, and the shelter closes at 7 am the next morning.

Harriet Tubman’s Day Program focuses on life skills training including assistance with life skills, employment, hygiene issues, drug rehab and financial management for women and is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 3:30 pm. There are two rehab specialists and a program manager during the day available to work directly with clients.

To donate or learn more

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Washington also accepts donations for their emergency hypothermia shelters or you can volunteer.

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia – Another way to help those left out in the cold this new year is by donating your time, money, excess building supplies and even unwanted used vehicles to Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat for Humanity runs home improvement shops in Northern Virginia and Maryland that sell new and used building supplies and home improvement goods at a discount, with the proceeds going to fund Habitat for Humanity projects.  To learn more about donation.

Embry Rucker Shelter – This 70-bed residential shelter in Reston provides healthy, safe, emergency housing for families and single men and women. They help the homeless overcome the circumstances that led to their homelessness, and facilitate their transition to stable housing.  For more information and to donate.

Blanketing DC with Love – This charity has distributed almost 3000 blankets to DC’s neediest since 2008.  There are multiple ways to get involved, the simplest of which is to purchase a blanket for donation from Blanketing DC’s Amazon wish list.  It couldn’t be simpler to help keep someone warm this winter!

DC Central Kitchen – DC Central Kitchen is not a soup kitchen.  Instead, they take in about 3000 pounds of donated food each day and turn it into about 5000 healthy meals which they then distribute to partner agencies such as homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics and afterschool programs in the DC metro area. If you’re interested in donating or learning more, you can visit their website.

People aren’t the only ones in need of a little extra consideration this winter – pets are sensitive to the changing temperatures as well.  Here is some information on keeping your furry friends comfortable and healthy in the cold.

Cold weather or not, there are always people in need. Helping others will warm your heart all the while doing good for someone else. I wish you the best this holiday season and throughout 2015!

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